Angie's List: Best defense for a mosquito free area

LEWISTON, ID - Summer is synonymous with many things: baseball, fireworks and unfortunately, mosquitoes.

They can ruin a summer barbecue faster than a rotten hamburger. How to prevent mosquitoes from invading your yard is today's Angie's List report.

"Not only are mosquitoes a nuisance when you're out trying to have a family barbecue, but they are also a health risk," said Angie's List Owner Angie Hicks. "For example, you could get West Nile. Making sure you have a comfortable outdoor mosquito-free area is important for your family. The best defense is getting rid of water. Be conscious of any kind of water that is standing in your yard - bird baths, kid's swimming pools, even gutters can have some standing water. Anywhere there is standing water for a period of time, it's a breeding ground for mosquitoes."

"There are many places around a home owner's property where they can look for sources of standing water," said Mosquito Control Contractor Ken Frost. "The thing is we are only looking for a very small amount of water. In fact, it only takes a soda bottle cap full of water to breed several hundred mosquitoes."

"If you tackled every effort you can as a homeowner you might need to hire a professional," said Hicks. "Having someone come in you need to talk to them exactly about their experience in treating mosquitoes and then also ask what kind of chemicals and treatments they are going to use especially if you have children or pets."

"We tried everything: foggers, all the different coils," said homeowner Jerry McVeigh. "You name it, we tried it. And a lot of other people I'm sure understand this - we were so sensitive about strong chemicals because of what's going on with the wildlife."

"When we come to a property, we come in with a backpack sprayer and a tank that has the product in it that we mixed," said Frost. "It is a plant-based product made with chrysanthemum plants. The operator carries it around and treats the foliage and that particular application will last the homeowner 21 days."

"We can go out now with the children and grandchildren and be out in the evening, walk around anywhere, go down to the lake and fish," said McVeigh.

Several types of plants also act as a natural mosquito repellent. They avoid catnip, lavender, marigolds, basil and peppermint.